Are you feeling antsy?
Updated: Aug 10
If you're feeling a bit antsy as you ride out the pandemic, you may want to join a private Facebook group made up of close to two million people pretending to be ants. Not aunts. Ants. “In this group we are ants. We worship The Queen and do ant stuff.” People–er, ants–post photos (picnics are popular) and the other ants in the colony chime in with their commands such as INVADE, STEAL, BRING TO THE QUEEN. Psychologists say the ant group is fulfilling a basic human need to feel a part of something at a time when the pandemic is making us feel isolated. “When we belong to groups we feel better,” says Loyola University psychology professor Erin Dupuis, even if it's a group of ants. Thank you for joining the 5-Minute Recharge group where we're antsy about our mission to give you a weekly picnic of tips, strategies, and scientific research to make your life better. Here's a tasty morsel to get you started... ONE POETIC QUOTE Everyone has to love someone Flamingos love someone The wind loves someone The sea loves someone Spirits Letters Houses Everything you ever know loves someone Everyone has love Even baddies – 4-year-old poet Nadim Shamma-Sourgen will launch a book of poetry next summer. Looks like it'll be a goodie.
“You've been through a lot this year, and it looks like you need the perfect place to let your frustrations out. Somewhere big, vast, and untouched. It looks like you need Iceland.” Iceland allows people to record their screams of frustration and release them into the wild. (Pictured above: Skogarfoss, one of seven places where your recorded scream can be broadcast.) THREE IDEAS #1 CAN THE COUCH MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE A POTATO? As Venice reduces gondola capacity from six passengers to five because tourists have become so big that the gondolas take on water due to the excess weight, researchers from the University of Gothenberg in Sweden have made a surprising discovery: sitting, because chairs and sofas (and gondolas) support a portion of your weight, fools the body into thinking it's lighter than it actually is. The body responds to the sitting signal by putting on extra weight to compensate. This research introduces us to the speculative concept of the “gravitostat,” a sensor within the bones that uses the body's pressure against the earth to send messages to the brain about whether weight needs to be added or subtracted. The research suggests that you need to stand and move to set your gravitostat properly. The research also suggests that it's better to be a gondolier than a gondolee. “In my talks, I have often joked about how to best keep weight off – just carry around a backpack that contains the lost pounds to fool the body into thinking the weight is still there. It turns out that what was intended as a joke, may in fact not be all too far from how the body actually regulates body weight.” – Dr. Arya Sharma explains the gravitostat #2 MORE MOVING RESEARCH If you use data from fitness trackers as a proxy, physical activity levels have declined significantly since the pandemic began which doesn't bode well for our collective mental health. This week, not one but two studies were released examining the effects of exercise on wellbeing during the COVID crisis. A U.K. study of 902 adults found that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was associated with lower levels of anxiety, depression and overall mental wellbeing. A study of Chinese college students took these findings one step further, asserting that there's a “sweet spot” of 45 minutes of vigorous physical activity that neutralizes negative emotions. If we can offer you one piece of advice it's this: don't wait for the spirit to move you: move, and notice how your spirit lifts. “Participating in higher levels of physical activity during COVID-19 self-isolation is associated with better total mental health status.” – Louis Jacob, et. al. #3 KOEKNUFFELEN, THE DUTCH COW CURE Combining country life, animals, and hugs, koeknuffelen is the wellness trend from the Netherlands that's making us crazy about cows. Literally “cow hugging,” koeknuffelen has been compared to snuggling up with a large hot water bottle. Cows have warm bodies and a slower heart rate than humans which makes them the ideal animals to hug. Hugging lowers anxiety hormones and stress levels; however you may increase your stress level if you approach a cow that, like some people, doesn't want to be hugged. Be sure to visit an experienced koeknuffelener if you want to try out this trend and snuggle up with the divine in the bovine. “When a hugging cow is lying down and the people are hugging her, she likes it and also finds it relaxing.” – Els of Kastanje Hoeve describes how koeknuffelen works both ways *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. Why the secret to Icelandic happiness lies in their pools - BBC Reel (Time: 5 minutes) (In Iceland, being immersed in water is a happy way of life.) 2. Julie Rice on the creation of Soul Cycle and the importance of community - Finding Mastery Podcast (Time: 65 minutes) (The Soul Cycle Formula: we warm you up, we break you down, we pop the party, we give you a soulful moment, we send you home like a hero.) 3. Why Walking Might Be One of the Best Exercises for Health - Discover Mag (You'll quicken your walking pace after you read this.) 4.Covid Brain is a Real Thing. Here's How to Deal With It - Inc. (Covid-19 brain: a fragile, frazzled state that keeps our thoughts simultaneously on edge and unfocused. Here you'll find three simple strategies to soothe your frazzled mind.) 5. Get Ripped with This No-Equipment 6-Move Workout - Outside (No need to get ripped--there are some good ideas here for strength-building workouts you can do at home) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE A 21-DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE This week’s 5-Minute Recharge challenge is to simply click here (from your mobile device) and sign up for Ten Percent Happier's free 21-day meditation challenge. If you've ever wanted to make meditation into a daily habit, now's your chance. The challenge kicks off on July 27 and runs for 21 days, ending on August 16. “Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already.” – Pema Chödrön The final word goes to...Kim Kardashian? Yes, Kim Kardashian.